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7 Lessons Serial Entrepreneurs Have Learned From Failure

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Nov. 28 2022, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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If you do a deep dive into what entrepreneurs have to say about failure, you’ll likely find one common thread: Failure leads to learning, and learning leads to growth. Serial entrepreneurs, especially, are no stranger to failure. What makes them stand out among the rest, though, is their failure to give up. Here’s what a few successful business owners have to say about it:

Keep climbing.

The key to success is holding on to the belief that you’ll have more sunny days than cloudy ones and to just keep climbing, every day, no matter what. Great leaders not only keep climbing on both types of days but also inspire their teams to climb with them. The cloudy days and failures we face along the way make us stronger and more prepared for each upcoming challenge.”

Jennifer Dulksi

Failure is a normal part of life.

It doesn’t matter how far you might rise, at some point, you are bound to stumble. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher and higher, the law of averages predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, I want you to remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

Oprah Winfrey

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Own your mistakes.

You CANNOT have success without failure. I failed countless times before FUBU actually succeeded and there’s no shame in admitting that. True entrepreneurs are willing to take risks and OWN their mistakes. Sure, I could have been better equipped when it came to the knowledge around how to start a business, but without the failures I’ve endured along the way, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I did to become a successful entrepreneur. Failure is how you learn to better yourself the next time around. It’s in failure that we truly learn to appreciate our successes.”

Daymond John

Mindset matters.

One of the ways I have accomplished my goals is by acting as though failure is never an option for me. This means that I’ve worked very hard to evaluate myself with an open mind as I’ve developed myself. I know that along with a concrete sense of self and a firm individual identity comes the power of choice. This does not require me to give up my sense of community, or the warmth and security I enjoy as a family member. What has been necessary for me to enjoy my power of choice is to abandon any thinking that allows my choices to be determined outside of myself.”

Janice Bryant Howroyd

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Accept failure for what it is.

So, I feel that I fail, and I still fail, every day, several times a day. It’s just that you hope that you have enough successes that outweigh the failure. It’s completely normal, and it’s something that I think hopefully everybody could talk about.”

Mariam Naficy

Push, push, push.

As an entrepreneur, you have to knock on many doors, mainly for finding investors. When your calls don’t lead to success, you can initially feel like a failure, but you never know how investors may get back to you for collaborations. I think it’s important not to give up and push forward until, eventually, you succeed in raising capital that can help your business grow.”

Elnaz Sarraf

Just keep swimming.

There have been so many failures but I always try to turn them into opportunities, learn for the future and move forward.”

Tory Burch

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By: Lindsey Giardino

Lindsey Giardino is a freelance writer based in central Iowa. She's passionate about helping others share their stories and has gotten to do so through a variety of clients, including those in higher education, agriculture, and hyper local community-based publications. She especially loves learning and writing about female entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she's not focusing on her own business, she enjoys cooking (somewhat poorly), reading (mostly feel-goods), enjoying the outdoors (unless there are wasps nearby), and experiencing life as a new mom (even if she's only gotten a few hours of sleep).

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